Loving to Learn

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Love this! In T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, here’s what Merlin said to young Arthur:

“The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomy. You may lie awake at  night listening to the disorder of your veins. You may miss your only love. You may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then–to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.

Learning is the thing for you. Look at what a lot of things there are to learn–pure science, the only purity there is. You can learn astrology in a lifetime, the history of the world in three, literature in six. And then, after you have exhausted a million lifetimes in biology and medicine and cooking and geography and economics–why, you can start to make a cartwheel out of the appropriate wood, or spend fifty years learning to begin to learn to beat your adversary at fencing. After that, you can start again on mathematics, until it is time to learn to plow.”

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